“Those who passed by hurled insults at him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“You who are going to destroy the temple
and build it in three days,
save yourself! Come down from the cross,
if you are the Son of God!”
How quickly praise has changed to insults. A few days before the crowds had shouted “Hosanna”. Then it was “Crucify!” Now they threw His words back at Him and ridiculed Him.
Notice how similar this challenge is to the one issued by the devil as he began the temptations in the desert.
- “The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3)
- “Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
Both challenged Him to prove His identity as the Son of God by performing a miracle. Both challenges were also focussed on His physical need. Both were rejected by the Lord whose vision and purpose where far greater.
We all face challenges and temptations in our lives – including those that will establish us as significant in the eyes of others. We would be mortified if we were to lose our reputation and be discarded as worthless – particularly if it happened in such a public and humiliating way.
Jesus suffered this as a part of His sacrifice of Himself on our behalf. There was no glory involved at the time.